Cowell backs Gamu over deportation
Simon Cowell has thrown his weight behind the campaign to save snubbed X Factor star Gamu Nhengu from deportation to Zimbabwe, it has been revealed.
The music mogul's lawyers have been drafted in to help the 18-year-old singer in her battle to stay in the UK.
The prospect of being sent back to her homeland has been hanging over the teenager after her mother's visa application was turned down.
Cowell said: "We are helping Gamu and her family as much as possible and have lawyers working with her lawyers, not because we have to - but because I really feel for their situation, and that's outside of the show."
Multi-millionaire Cowell, 51, maintained bosses at the ITV1 show were not aware of Nhengu's visa situation while she was on the programme.
"We were unaware there would be any problem with her visa until this week," he said.
The teenager's mother Nokuthula Ngazana was permitted to stay in the UK while she studied at university, with Nhengu permitted to remain in the country as her dependant.
But Ms Ngazana's application to remain in the country was turned down, with the UK Border Agency saying it did not "meet all of the conditions for approval".
Frances Farrell, the lawyer representing Nhengu and her family, has said she would appeal to an immigration tribunal against plans to deport them.
Cowell's lawyers are expected to advise on the appeal to a Glasgow tribunal and it is understood an X Factor producer has been assigned to look after the family.